She walks in Beauty is a poem written by Lord Byron in 1813. It is a lyrical poem written in the iambic tetrameter which speaks about the female beauty and the idea of inner goodness which is essential for a romanticism. This particular characteristic of inner beauty is also crucial for harmony and aesthetic perfection.
The poem is the representation of the female beauty and the poet describes the harmony which is achieved by perfection and beauty. As the reader progresses, the poem reveals that this harmony is fragile and delicate and has the potentiality to get altered at the slightest of the change. Lord Byron has stated she walks in beauty without saying she walks beautifully. This indicates a wider spectrum of the beauty which is beyond the conventional meaning associated with magnificence. It also suggests that beauty actually comprises of a vastness that encapsulates the woman like an aura or halo. The physical beauty has also been given importance which shuffles between darkness and light. It blends the beauty of both the elements darkness and light and puts them in a delicate balance. In this context, it is essential to note that the darkness has always been used as a mysterious and fearful factor. Contradictorily, light is associated with purity, love and beauty thereby using both the elements to bring a perfect balance. It can also be compared to the beauty of a woman which is powerful and uncommon. Therefore, the meaning of the poem is intrinsically deeper that it can be perceived as it deals with the beauty in an inclusive gamut.
The main theme of the poem, She walks in Beauty, is the magnificence of a woman which is reflected through the eloquence of speech, glowing figures, and her purity of love. All these features make the woman in Lord Byron’s eye the perfect one. The other main themes associated with the poem is the love of Byron towards the woman for her gracious nature, and the coexistence of light and darkness both at the same time with harmony within a woman. This harmonious tendencies create perfection and thereby peace can be attained. The poem also portrays the beauty of innocence and truthfulness that makes the woman more gorgeous. Her thoughts radiates her prettiness all the more and the perfect image of the woman in the eyes of Byron is created. Another aspect that needs mentioning is the admiration of the poet which he directs towards the woman he loves. It shows the love he feels for the woman of his dreams and the peace he attains at the vicinity of such a character. The beauty and grace of the lady allures the poet and he feels unconditional attachment with the loveliness of the woman in entirety.
Lord Byron wrote the poem, She Walks in Beauty, in admiration of a woman, Anne Wilmot, who happens to be his young cousin by relation. The poem was written when got inspired from her first look after marriage. Historians say that her cousin wore a black gown which was brightened with sequins. Due to this aspect, probably, the poet got the inspiration of blending the darkness with light. However, his idea of love and portraying the beauty is far more than that of the physical appearance and transcends to the inner beauty of the person. This particular aspect of the inner strength is what makes the poem all the more efficacious in depicting the beauty of the woman. In relation to the appraisal of the beauty, the poet uses various similes and poetic structures throughout. As for instance, he compared her with the cloudless and starry skies. His portrayal of her in the darkness and the light is also done to the point that it makes her description of the beauty more transcendental and exceptional. His reference of her thoughts, her pure love and the inner beauty makes her all the more beautiful and breaks the conventional and societal definition of beauty. The third stanza, too, reflects her cousin’s innocent nature which adds her peace of her mind deep down. The rhyming of the iambic tetrameter makes the description of her woman’s beauty more lyrical and rhyming that adds grace to the poem. In relation to this context, it is also essential to mention the reason of Lord Byron the restless poet getting attracted to a character like Anne Wilmot. He found in her the exact opposite of what he was – a restless and a heroic celebrity of his time. Whereas, the woman in context was the symbol of peace, love and harmony which was absent in the poet. All these aspects necessarily draw the poet to Anne Wilmot that resulted in the creation of this poem and his admiration through his words. It is also noteworthy to mention that the poetic image that has influenced the poet in writing the poem is the sense of sight which is contradictory to that of the woman in solitary reaper, where the primary focus was in the sense of hearing. The common connection between the two poems are the isolation of the women, the individuality, and the uniqueness of each one which make both the poems a representation of beauty.
The word climes means climate in the poem “She Walks in Beauty”. Lord Byron also compares the woman with the cloudless climates and the starry skies. Moreover, the word is used to keep a rhyming sense to the word skies. This particular type of effect that has been created is known as assonance. In these lines, the poet compares the beauty of the woman with that of a shady and starry night. It has been basically used to represent the woman and the love of his life’s sparkling eyes.
In reference to the above analysis, it can be concluded that the poem “She Walks in Beauty” effectively bestows the woman with the admiration that he has felt from the core of his heart. It is an example of The Romantic period which portrays the beauty in an enhanced manner. Though there are various criticisms of this type of genre in many aspects, this type of poetry reflects the art movement of a generation which is characterizes by the celebration of arts, beauty, nature and imagination. It also rejects the ideas of realism which is why this particular movement did not gained much momentum. Moreover, it also resulted in the formation of the movements which surfaced as a criticism of the Romantic era.
This particular piece of poem can be seen in another light where the feminist criticism is applicable. According to it, the objectification of women is stark, however, it can be dismissed on the grounds that it was purely out of love and the beauty emanating from the woman. Moreover, the moral quality of the woman upon which parts of the poem has been based on reflects the true intentions of the poet based on love and purity.
Therefore, the poem being a reflection of the love arising from the grace and beauty of the woman becomes a true symbol of the analysis of extrinsic and intrinsic elements. The personality of the woman has been the primary focus of the poem which paints a vivid description of the entire feeling felt by the poet towards the woman.